More than a quarter of the Iowans who’ve sent in their federal tax returns so far this year did -not- claim a new refund. David Williams, the head of Internal Revenue Service’s Telephone Excise Tax Initiative, says people simply may not know what the refund is all about, since it’s never been offered before.
Williams says "It’s not something with which they’re familiar and so it may not be the first thing that comes to mind when they’re completing their tax return. Also, we know a lot of people will be waiting until the end of the filing season to actually file their returns, so we’re hoping if we can make people more aware of it and get that on their radar screens, they’ll go ahead and request that refund when they do complete their tax returns."
Williams says people can request a refund for federal telephone excise taxes collected over the past three-and-a-half years. For the most part, he says anyone who paid long-distance telephone tax can get a refund on their federal returns, but many Iowans aren’t claiming it.
Williams says "About 28-percent of the returns we’ve gotten from Iowa folks so far have not filled out this line. We’re really concerned that people are passing this by. They may not be familiar with it or aware they’re eligible to claim this refund. Part of my reason for talking with you today is to encourage your listeners to check that box out and claim the refund they deserve." He says the amount you’ll get back in the refund is varied. The standard amount you can request is based on the number of exemptions you claim on your return. So how much is it worth?
"Williams says "It depends on how many people are in your family but even if you’re single, it can be worth as much as 30-bucks. If you’ve got four or more people in your family, it’s worth about 60. It just makes sense. Virtually everybody in America paid for long-distance telephone service over the last three-and-a-half years and so they’re eligible to request this refund and we want them to do so."
Nationwide, it’s expected 146-million people will request the telephone excise tax refund. The federal government stopped collecting the tax on long-distance service last August and announced plans to provide refunds of these taxes billed after February 28, 2003, and before August 1, 2006.